You want to shape the minds of tomorrow with your creative know-how? Well to you I say, go for it! It’s pretty damn fun.

Back in Canada, mentorship programs were the stuff of legends in my design school. Agencies and lecturers didn’t have a strong relationship, and fitting in time for practicums and internships wasn’t always viable given my workload. I was able to lean on my peers and professors for advice but in many cases, I wanted a bit more. I wanted to hear the war stories from the actual trenches of a creative agency. I wanted the good and the bad. I wanted real world feedback on my work. I wanted to experience, even in small amounts what I was working so hard to achieve. I wanted to be a designer but I just didn’t know what that entailed.

Fast forward a few years to when I moved to Scotland and began working at Whitespace. It was immediately apparent that the team here took mentoring very seriously. Whether it was through their hosted events, internship programs (The Oven), office tours, or school partnership programs, Whitespace was supplying the next generation of talent with a hefty amount of opportunities to learn and I wanted to be a part of it.

Signing up to be mentor was the easy part because anyone can say yes and give a couple hours of time each week. Overcoming imposter syndrome? That was much trickier. While speaking with my mentees I learned very quickly that I didn’t know everything. In many cases I even learned that my mentees knew more than me. But I am here to tell you that that is perfectly okay. Mentoring isn’t about reciting design jargon, or critiquing someone else's portfolio. It’s about learning from one another and hopefully becoming a stronger mentor through the process. It amazes me the little time you need to give up but how much of an impact a quick meetup here and there can have on your own creative energy. Sure, being a mentor is a big responsibility, but it is also a great opportunity to get inspired by those around you and make some new friends in the process.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a quick questionnaire, in case you were unconvinced.

  • Do you like to share your opinion?
  • Do you have small amounts of spare time that could be better used?
  • Do you like meeting new folk who are as passionate as you are?
  • Do you want to shape the minds of tomorrow?

If you said yes to any of these, then give mentoring a try! It’s incredibly rewarding and a great challenge for anyone who ever thinks, “do I even know what I am talking about”? You may not know all of the answers but I promise that you’ll figure it out as you go.

Chris Brodt, Designer